The purpose of this paper is to analyze learning in a Swedish trade union board in a workplace, according to contemporary challenges in working life and conditions, of decentralization and local independency of trade union work and learning.
The paper is based on ethnographic studies of two Swedish local trade union boards. The aim is to investigate the everyday activities of the board and the learning processes that were generated. This paper focuses on the study of an experienced trade union board. Theory stressing the situated character of learning is used to understand the changes in participation and the trade union practice. The trade union board's practice is interpreted as solving problems with reference to pragmatism.
The paper finds that the experienced board is competent and manages to independently solve unfamiliar but traditional problems, processes of learning are generated, but it fails to develop the competence and update the practice required for the complex and challenging problems of today on its own.
The local trade union board does not manage to develop the competence giving it the power to independently handle the trade union issues significant for the future of the trade union members and the workplace on its own.
This context of learning has not been studied before. It is a type of workplace learning, but part of a social movement.
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